Improve your teaching practices: Climate change and self-in-society

At the heart of quality education lies good teaching practice. Focussing on sound pedagogy or teaching methods that include the design and implementation of quality teaching and learning processes is essential for developing competencies through an iterative process of solution-focused learning task sequences. The Life Orientation Introductory Text and the Fundisa for Change Introductory Core text (Fundisa for Change, 2013) outline the different teaching practices and discuss Life Orientation engaging with climate change pedagogy more in detail. Several teaching methods are common to all subjects, but each subject or discipline has its own particular ’embedded methodology’ or ways of creating knowledge. Life Orientation as a holistic subject that attempts to develop the learner on all levels needs to take approaches to create knowledge that are different from other subjects based on science as Life Orientation focusses more on a systems approach of integrating self, society and the world (DBE, 2011). Life Orientation may favour deliberative methods or investigative methods.

Also, learners have different learning styles. Some will learn better from some processes (such as reading case studies), and others will respond better to other methods (such as hands-on exploration). Using various methods increases the chances of everyone learning (FCC, 2013). A variety of methods allows us to address various matters of concern, educational purposes and outcomes whilst engaging with climate change issues.

Within these Life Skills learning units, there is a range of possible pedagogical approaches (methods) for the teaching and learning processes for the topic of climate change. Climate change issues are about climate variation, links between community and other natural systems, and is, therefore, to a large extent, a practice-oriented topic within Life Skills. However, this does not imply that theoretical, as well as other classroom-based activities, are not possible. A mixture of practical, action-oriented aspects in real-life contexts and classroom-based activities can facilitate learning on this topic.

These include investigative, experiential learning by doing and deliberative methods as discussed in the Introductory Core Text and Methods and Processes books.

Some activities are suitable for group work, while some are individual activities. Using diverse teaching and learning approaches creates opportunities for learners to engage in the learning process actively.

Climate change within Life Skills as a topic will require:

  • the development of language skills, in this case about scientific literacy on critical terms and concepts employed in climate;
  • developing analytical skills to understand climate change through community and society-orientated Life Skills.
  • developing critical decision-making skills about a. development of relevant contextualised responses to climate change; b. debating and discussing critical issues relating to climate change issues and finding solutions for these issues;
  • the development of numerical skills and their application in real-life contexts of climate change.

Below is a general Life Orientation lesson plan for Grade 7 on nutrition

Answer the following questions:

  • How would you adjust this general lesson plan to integrate teaching gardens and preparing students for climate change effects, building resilience and instil adaptation competencies?
  • What approaches and teaching methods would you recommend to the teacher that developed this lesson plan to integrate environmental learning and engage with climate change?
  • What type of activity will you include to engage with climate change in the topic of nutrition?